Oct 22, 2011

UVa Tops List of Architectural Favorites

Recent visitors to college campuses can’t help but notice all the new construction. Cranes loom over hulking steel skeletons, and tour guides are forced to reroute around construction pits appearing out of nowhere.

And it’s always reassuring to know the new buildings or facelifts of the old will be available for use by students in the not-too-distant future—hopefully in time for prospective students to enjoy them.

Possibly fueled by more sympathetic economies of the past, campus building programs continue to break ground on new and ever more glamorous facilities designed to respond to immediate need for updating and growth. Among the more popular projects are state-of-the-art housing, gyms, and student centers.

The impact of these buildings is for the long term, and designers are sensitive to how new fits in with old. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the new additions leave visitors scratching their heads. But the architectural diversity of today’s college campuses is what makes the college tour so much fun.

Architectural Digest recently singled out ten college campuses with “the most significant architectural traditions,” and the University of Virginia topped the list.

Here is the complete Architectural Digest “college review:”

  1. University of Virginia: Recognizing Jefferson’s role as chief architect, AD lauds decisions made to stick to the school’s “Neoclassical” roots and create an environment that is “vibrant” and innovative.

  2. Harvard University: AD notes that even with buildings going back to the 1720’s, Harvard has embraced modernistic architecture, some of which has not been without controversy.

  3. Yale University: Recognized for its “tradition of nontraditional work,” the Yale campus is the scene of over 300 years of architectural history.

  4. Brown University: This campus reached new heights with the addition of the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.

  5. Florida Southern College: FSC maintains the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world.

  6. Illinois Institute of Technology: IIT is a “pilgrimage stop” for Mies van der Rohe, who is responsible for much of what sets the “steel-and-glass” campus apart.

  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT continues to push the envelope with “mixed results,” but certainly deserves a place on any architectural tour of colleges, including Eero Saarinen’s 1955 chapel, Frank Gehry’s bizarre Stata Center, and the surprising Simmons Hall (don’t miss the inside of this building).

  8. Pratt Institute: Contemporary standouts include the new addition to Higgins Hall (home of the architecture school), Pantas Hall, and various structures built between 1885 and WWII that place Pratt on the National Register of Historic Places.

  9. Cornell University: AD notes the construction of a new home for Cornell’s architecture school as well as Sir James Stirling’s 1989 postmodern arts center and an art museum by I.M. Pei.

  10. Bennington College: In addition to innovative designs for student housing, the Bennington campus boasts of a new Center for Advancement of Public Action, constructed of local materials.

1 comment:

  1. Have the folks at AD ever traveled west of the Mississippi?